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S-CAR explores innovation in conflict resolution at ISA 2019

April 15, 2019

By Juliette Shedd

The S-CAR community showed up in force at last month’s International Studies Association Conference in Toronto, Canada. Nine faculty and at least fifteen student presenters were joined by dozens more alumni, collaborators, co-writers, and friends of the school, with presentations, panels, and activities spread across all four days.

With such robust presence, it was impossible to see everyone’s presentations, and believe me, I tried. The conference was a wonderful opportunity for our students to present their work to the larger community of scholars.

Oluwagbemiga Dasylva, a doctoral student, appreciated interacting outside the school. “[T]here is a world beyond S-CAR, and beyond the S-CAR walls are tools to help build S-CAR beyond its present limits,” he said.

Doctoral candidate Carol Daniel Kasbari, presenting at ISA for her second time, said, “This kind of scholarship gathering is very important as it teaches every graduate student how to present complex ideas in [a] short time and get the chance to get exposed and learn what scholars are writing and interested in.”

ID: A man in a beige suite holds a plaque and is smiling.

S-CAR professor Marc Gopin was recognized with the Distinguished Scholar Award from the ISA PEACE Studies Section at ISA 2019. (Photo credit: Carol Daniel Kasbari)

This year’s ISA was also a celebration of PEACE Studies Section Distinguished Scholar Award winners, including S-CAR Professor Marc Gopin. This is the third time the PEACE Studies Section has recognized S-CAR faculty, having honored Kevin Avruch in 2018 and Christopher Mitchell in 2015.

S-CAR sponsored the section reception, which featured a “who’s who” of active scholars in the field.

Connections and networking were key for students attending. “ISA helped me discover my place in the larger community of civil war scholars, and encouraged me to press into my research and writing with confidence after the feedback I was given and the perception of my work's value in the field,” said Charles Davidson, a doctoral candidate at S-CAR.

The last day of the conference featured the panel “Methods for Engaging Interdisciplinary Integration: Innovative Contributions from the Conflict Analysis and Resolution Field,” which brought conflict resolution approaches to the conference theme of “Re-visioning International Studies: Innovation and Progress.” I enjoyed working with Patricia Maulden to support the student-organized panel, which featured doctoral students Lauren Kinney, Claire Downing, Angelina Mendes, Oluwagbemiga Dasylva, and PhD graduate Claudine Kuradusenge-McLeod.

Angelina Mendes said the advantage of attending was to “get an idea of what people are currently talking about in the field and the current approaches and projects that scholars and practitioners are focusing on at the moment.”

The panel presented innovative ways to work with conflict theory and research methodologies to understand complex contemporary conflicts. Most important was the learning. Claire Downing summed it up. “I gained tangible skills that I will take into both my research and professional work that will help me be a more responsible researcher and a more marketable job seeker,” she said.

Next year the conference moves to Honolulu, Hawaii. I’m looking forward to another great gathering of the S-CAR community.

For a full list of ISA 2019 presentations and workshops by S-CAR students, faculty, and alumni, read our March 2019 Activity Recap.